Austria: Troubled Affluence

AUSTRIA Troubled Affluence

On the surface, Maine-sized Austria hums with gemütlich prosperity. Unemployment shrank last year to a negligible 2%, and wages rose faster (10%) than the cost of living (6%). Last week pre-Easter shoppers crowded Vienna's Kärntnerstrasse, splurging on everything from spring ski sweaters to imported delicacies like pâte de foie gras and French Beaujolais. Swarms of Volkswagens, Fords and Austrian-built Puchs choked the streets of downtown Vienna, where private autos were a rarity only ten years ago. Travel reservations for the Easter holiday were virtually unobtainable.

Despite such symptoms of affluence, the Austrian economy is in trouble. In sharp contrast...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!